The UK's entire financial sector is preparing to deflect a massive cyber attack on its systems on Tuesday as part of a day of testing designed to examine the preparedness of the nation's banks for such a scenario.
The market-wide exercise will involve 87 participants and also extend to examining "the impact of transport disruption against the backdrop of the Olympics", according to UK Financial Sector Continuity.
The exact test scenario has been developed with a wide range of sector representatives and industry experts, and will test the participants' ability to respond to a "concerted cyber attack", said the body in a statement on its site.
"There is a strong focus upon dependencies on telecommunications and the internet, as well as managing the return to business as usual," it said.
"In response to feedback, we have released the scenario well in advance, so facilitators have more time to review injects and their impacts, engage the right people and in-house experts, and organise their participation on exercise day."
Symantec UK security analyst Sian John welcomed the sector's forward planning in trying to build preventative cyber security measures, adding that around 144,000 malicious files are detected each day, with threats targeted on accessing valuable information which is the lifeblood of the financial sector.
She explained to V3 that although many banks face the growing risk of encountering Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs), this simulation would be to counter more obvious attack types.
"There are the covert threats but then there are also the very obvious front door knocking attacks and the banks want to protect against both," she said.
John added that most firms should be planning now if they think they may be a target for attack inthe run up to the Olympics next year.
"We are already seeing the Olympics being used in terms of phishing and spam as a way to get onto people's systems," she explained.
Earlier this month, HSBC's systems suffered a massive outage hitting ATM, phone and online banking, although the incident is not thought to have been caused by malicious parties.
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